Øya The Reluctant No. 1

Øyafestivalen chief Claes Olsen said the event has never strived to be Norway’s No. 1 crowd-puller; it’s just a byproduct of what’s been a couple of topsy-turvy years in the Norwegian outdoor market.

“It’s never been our goal to be the biggest, and we’ve never said that it is, but we have tried very hard to be the best,” Olsen said after the August 6-9 event at Oslo Middelalder Parken sold out its 15,000 capacity in advance.

The second edition of Hove Festival, the event former Quart Festival director Toffen Gunnufsen set up at Arendal, did 12,400 per day.

Last year Hove and Øya were much closer, as both did a little less than 12,000 per day, but this year the Oslo event added 1,000 to its capacity.

The crowd for this year’s Slottsfjell Festival in Tønsberg, the seventh time it’s been held, was 10,000 per day and 30 percent up on the 2007 numbers. It looks good enough for it to have taken third place.

The Øya figures were also boosted by the 17,500 tickets it sold for the festival-related shows staged offsite in 27 of the capital city’s venues, cinemas and bars.

Including the club day, which was the day before the open-air starts, and the shows at the 1,000-capacity Øya Cinema, the crowd totaled 77,500.

This year the Middelalder Parken site added a fifth stage, which focused on dance music and mixed DJ sets with live acts including Girl Talk, Diplo, The Dodos, Gerilja, and Haust.

The acts helping Øya break records included Sonic Youth, Grinderman, My Bloody Valentine, N.E.R.D., Sigur Ros, Turbonegro, Mogwai and The National.